Premier League: An Arsenal Fan in South Carolina

So World Cup fever is sweeping across the world, well everywhere apart from the United States. Being an avid football fan, I must admit I miss the greatest sport on earth over here in South Carolina.  Sometimes I get to catch the odd game on ESPN on a Saturday morning; however, this is no substitute for beers, Balti pies and the roar of the crowd on a Saturday afternoon. My favored Premier League team is the mighty Arsenal; however, more lately living in the midlands of England meant I had to go and watch Stoke City, a team elevated to the top division after many years bouncing up and down the backstreet leagues. And very well they have done to maintain this status for the past two seasons – finishing respectably mid table last year, and looking the same this year. Peers who were promoted at the same time have come and gone; however, Stoke hold proud their achievement thus far.

Disappointingly, Arsenal has done the opposite in the last five years; they are one of the most successful clubs in English football, having won 13 top flight titles, and 10 FA Cups to date. They also hold the longest uninterrupted period in the Premier League – May 2003 to October 2004, which included 49 games unbeaten, and the entire 2003-2004 season. Around this time, we won the Premier League title in 2002 and 2004 – were runners up in 2001, 2003 and 2005 – and won the FA Cup three times in 2002, 2003 and 2005. We even came very close to taking the Champions League trophy home in the final of 2006; however, we were beaten by Barcelona in the last 15 minutes of the game after two late goals made it 2-1. And since then, we have won nothing. Not a sausage. We have a great squad of talented players and the same great manager we had during the glory years – we have even moved to a new GBP400m stadium in 2006 so another 22,000 fans could squeeze in and watch their idols each week.

I was hoping this season would finish differently; Stoke have secured a place in the top flight for next season, with what looks like another mid table finish – hats off to Tony Pulis and his Potters once again.  Arsenal were still very much in the title race until two games ago, however they threw away six points over the last two games, losing to arch rivals Tottenham mid week, and then conceding three goals in the last ten minutes against Wigan Athletic on Sunday to lose 3-2.  Mathematically we could still win the title, however the top two clubs Chelsea and Manchester United, would have to lose the last three games which looks very unlikely.  I was also hoping an injury to Wayne Rooney would help us, as Man U are seemingly lost without him, and perhaps give Arsenal a glimmer of hope for at least second place, if not top spot where we belong.

Watch out for my World Cup blog next month….

One Comment

  1. James Priest
    Posted May 6, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Sadly I have to eat my words – the wheels completely fell off Arsenal’s run in, and we’re going to finish in third spot. At least Manchester United finished second, and didn’t win (again, yawn).

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